White House plan aims to help key West Coast ports stay open 24-7 to ease supply chain bottlenecks

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  • President Joe Biden will unveil a plan to try to reduce West Coast delays at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles by expanding round-the-clock operations.
  • FedEx, UPS, Walmart, Home Depot and others will also announce extended-hours operating plans during a virtual meeting with Biden on Wednesday.
  • The powerful International Longshore and Warehouse Union says its members are willing to work additional shifts at ports.

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WASHINGTON – As supply chain disruptions around the world threaten to disrupt the US holiday shopping season, President Joe Biden will unveil a plan Wednesday to expand operations at the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles round-the-clock. Will try to reduce West Coast delays. Operation.

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At the heart of the plan is a commitment by some of the nation’s leading retailers and shippers to accelerate overnight and off-hours operations in Long Beach and Los Angeles.

FedEx, UPS, Walmart and Home Depot will announce plans for their extended hours of operations during a virtual meeting with Biden on Wednesday, according to senior administration officials briefing reporters Tuesday night.

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Officials were allowed anonymity to discuss private sector commitments that had not yet been made public.

The official said the Port of Los Angeles will announce on Wednesday that it is shifting to 24-7 operations following a similar transition by the Port of Long Beach in September this year.

The ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles together account for about 40% of shipping containers entering the United States.

Another major stakeholder in the plan is the powerful International Longshore and Warehouse Union, or ILWU, which represents thousands of workers at the ports. ILWU has previously said that its members would be willing to work these additional shifts.

White House officials said “port operators” would be responsible for paying longshoremen and actually keeping ports open longer.

For the Biden administration, expediting night-time operations in warehouses and shipping hubs along West Coast ports as well as freight railroads, will help move cargo from waiting container ships and reduce pressure on the entire supply chain. The fastest and most effective way. .

But simply unloading more cargo at ports will do nothing to solve American supply chain problems when goods travel further inland. The United States is in the midst of a trucking crisis right now, With a shortage of long-distance truck drivers So serious that some companies are looking for truck drivers overseas.

The situation in California’s ports is dire.

on October 7, were reportedly around 60 container ships waiting in open water outside Los Angeles and Long Beach To berth at the dock and to unload your cargo. Before the pandemic, it was unusual to see a single ship waiting to slip.

“Ordinary people and businesses are feeling the effects of these delays and bottlenecks. This makes it challenging to get the products on the shelves and deliver the goods to the doorsteps,” the administration official said.

Experts say the massive disruption at the California port complex is the result of a combination of both domestic and global factors.

Among them, a pandemic-related increase in demand for durable goods in the United States, an outdated domestic freight and rail system, factory closures in places like China and Vietnam, and Shortage of Skilled Longshoremen on the West Coast.

Barriers at ports have created a domino effect within the larger economy.

Consumers are being advised to buy Christmas gifts in October, for example, if they want to be sure to receive a special item.

Among retailers, companies both large and small are having an extremely difficult time securing cargo containers to transport goods from Asia to the United States, where the lion’s share of consumer products are manufactured.

Skyrocketing costs are also part of the problem. In the past year, the cost of a container shipped by a freighter from China to the West Coast has increased by almost $3,000 in August 2020 for more than $20,000 in September of this year.

Global supply chain bottlenecks pose a uniquely complex challenge to the Biden White House, at a time when the president is under intense pressure to meet other key priorities.

These include domestic legislation signed by Democrats in Congress, a bill to fund the government, a bill to raise debt limits, upcoming rules to implement a broad employer COVID-19 vaccination mandate, and competitive pressure from both leftists. Huh. and the right to halt migration growth at the southern border.

In contrast to those challenges, however, there is little the federal government can do to force private companies to move goods more quickly or efficiently.

“The supply chain is essentially in the hands of the private sector, so we need the private sector to help us solve these problems,” the official said.

Below are the expected attendees for Wednesday’s meeting, which is scheduled to begin at 1:45 p.m.

  • Jean Serocca, Executive Director, Port of Los Angeles
  • Mario Cordero, Executive Director, Port of Long Beach
  • Willie Adams, International President, ILWU
  • James Hoffa Jr., General President, Teamsters
  • Greg Regan, President, Department of Transportation Business, AFL-CIO
  • John Furner, President and CEO, Walmart US
  • Dr. Udo Lang, President and CEO, FedEx Logistics
  • Nando Cesarone, President, US Operations, UPS
  • Brian Cornell, Chairman of the Board and CEO, Target
  • KS Choi, President and CEO, Samsung Electronics North America
  • Matt Shay, President and CEO, National Retail Federation
  • Peter Friedman, Executive Director, Agricultural Transport Coalition
  • Chris Spear, President and CEO, American Trucking Association
  • Ian Jeffries, President and CEO, American Association of Railroads
  • Suzanne Clark, President and CEO, US Chamber of Commerce
  • Geoff Freeman, President and CEO, Consumer Brands Association
  • Jim McKenna, President and CEO, Pacific Maritime Association

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